GCC calls on Iraq to protect fragile maritime agreement with Kuwait

Court struck down a law that governs the sharing of a crucial waterway to the Arabian Gulf between the two neighbouring countries

Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah receives Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia' Al-Sudani. Photo: Kuwait News Agency
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The Gulf Co-operation Council has called on Iraq to address the consequences of the country’s top court ruling which annuls the law ratifying a 2012 agreement with Kuwait to regulate maritime navigation on a crucial waterway on the Arabian Gulf.

Earlier this month, the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court said the 2013 law which was issued by the parliament to ratify the Khor Abdullah agreement is unconstitutional. It should have been ratified with the approval of two thirds of parliament, not a simple majority, judges said in the ruling.

The GCC Foreign Ministers called on Iraq to “take serious and urgent steps to address the negative repercussions that arose from the ruling of the Supreme Federal Court,” said a statement issued after a meeting in New York on Sunday, ahead of the UN General Assembly scheduled to be held this week.

They added that the ruling “contained inaccurate historical details out of context”, but did not elaborate further.

The Ministerial Council affirmed that these developments “do not serve the relations with the GCC countries and contravene international charters, treaties, and agreements,” the statement added.

Khor Abdullah is a narrow waterway that leads in from the Arabian Gulf, curving around Kuwait's Bubiyan and Warba islands on one side and Iraq's Al Faw Peninsula on the other.

The 78th session of the UNGA is the largest yearly gathering of world leaders and high-ranking diplomats.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani has arrived in New York and is scheduled to address the gathering on Friday, the same day designated for Kuwait's speech.

Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 833 in 1993 which determined the land border between Iraq and Kuwait.

However, the delineation of the maritime border was left to the two countries.

Early last year, Iraq paid its final war reparations to Kuwait, settling the $52.4 billion of claims made for damage inflicted during the 1990 invasion.

Updated: September 18, 2023, 3:18 PM